Rural Health Legislation Introduced

Senator Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) Rural Health Agenda includes the introduction of the “Bipartisan Rural America Health Corps Act”. The Act is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Senator Blackburn has also introduced the “Rural Health Innovation Act” cosponsored by Senator Murkowski, along with sponsoring the “Telemedicine Across State Lines Act” cosponsored by Senator Cramer.

The Rural America Health Corps Act would enhance the National Health Service Corps to incentivize academic medical centers and healthcare graduates to rotate through underserved communities. The bill would establish a “Rural America Healthcare Corps” that would create a new loan repayment program.

The Rural Health Innovation Act would incentivize communities to leverage their existing resources to provide for urgent care needs in communities. The bill would establish robust FQHCs and staff Rural Health Clinics.

The facilities would have upgraded equipment available to triage and stabilize patients in an emergency. This bill would create a collaborative federal, state, and local pilot program to expand rural health departments to meet urgent care needs including a full range of necessary updated equipment.

The Rural Health Innovation Act would also create two five year grant programs to be administered by HRSA. One of the grant programs would help to establish FQHCs and RHCs capable of meeting the communities’ urgent care and triage needs and another grant program would expand rural health departments to meet urgent care and triage needs

Lastly, the Telemedicine Across State Lines Act would create uniform best practices utilizing telemedicine across states. It would instruct the Secretary of HHS in consultation with a range of stakeholders to initiate a rulemaking to create federal telemedicine program best practices.

he bill would create a grant program to incentivize the expansion of effective telemedicine programs to reach rural communities. The bill would instruct the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to create a model to incentivize the adoption of telemedicine to increase care in rural areas.

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